QDR review panel recommends reforms to military compensation and benefits

////QDR review panel recommends reforms to military compensation and benefits

QDR review panel recommends reforms to military compensation and benefits

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and former National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley recommended the establishment of a special National Commission on Military Personnel to develop a roadmap to implement reform of military compensation (active, reserve, and retired), health care, and retirement benefits.  Perry and Hadley are co-chairs of Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) Independent Panel that was established to review the 2009 QDR and assess its findings.  They told the committee that while the all-volunteer force has been “an unqualified success,” funding trends in pay and benefits for active, reserve, and retired military personnel threaten its long-term sustainability.  They warned that if action is not taken to address increasing costs of the all volunteer force, DoD may have to reduce force structure and cut benefits.  In its final report, the panel recommends changes to military compensation, career management policies, retirement policies, and medical care.  They do not propose cutting pay or benefits, but rather changing to the structure of the compensation program.  The panel urges a two-track compensation system.  For service members serving one or two enlistments, a greater part of total compensation would be in the form of up-front cash payments rather than deferred and non-cash benefits.  For service members making a career of military service, the panel recommends lengthening the active service time (to as much as 40 years) and modifying the “up-or-out” system to increase the career progression time to allow for more professional development and greater choices for deployment.  Such moves, according to the report, would allow the military services to realize the full benefit of the investments made in training and educating the force.  The report also proposes changes to medical care to make it more affordable, principally to raise TRICare premiums.  In other QDR-related issues, the panel recommends reducing weapons development time, assigning clearly defined responsibility and accountability for each program

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